Photo: Frank Franklin/AP
If you live in New York City and you’re looking for a truly terrifying “haunted house” to wander through for Halloween this year, you’re not going to have to go very far. You won’t have to go far in terms of distance, I mean. All you’ll have to do is take a little step back in time, because I promise you the most viscerally PTSD-inducing experience anywhere within New York City right now is New York City. The old New York City — as it was in the late 70s and early 80s.
Props to off-broadway director Timothy Haskell, who came up with the inspired idea of turning an old warehouse on the Lower East Side into a Halloween attraction made to resemble the Warriors-esque dystopian hellscape era of gotham. According to AP, he’s faithfully recreated such nightmares as subways covered in graffiti, giant rats, menacing punks and drug-addicted gangs that roam the littered streets and, of course, the Times Square Travis Bickle once wanted to see washed out by a “real rain.” The whole thing begins with a blackout, which is immediately followed by flashes from the inevitable fires that would’ve burned back in the day. You’re then stalked through the dark by the Son of Sam and a homeless guy soaked in his own urine and are every so often confronted by tunnel-dwelling mole people.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Lou Reed and Anthony Bourdain, who you’ll find sitting on a curb in front of a mock-up of the old CBGB sharing a smoke and reminiscing about the good old days. And when it’s all over, wander back out into post-gentrification New York City, past sixteen Starbucks and four Urban Outfitters on your way to the studio apartment you’re paying $3,500 a month for — and wonder to yourself what’s really more terrifying.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.